Microsoft: Longhorn to arrive in 2005

Longhorn, the next major version of Windows for desktop PCs, will debut in 2005 and will usher in a new level of graphics for PCs, Microsoft executives said Wednesday.

While Microsoft plans to release "a couple of beta," or test, versions of Longhorn in 2004, the final version of the operating system won't come out commercially until 2005, said Will Poole, senior vice president of the Windows Client division at Microsoft. He made the comments during a speech delivered at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) here. Previously, analysts and sources had speculated that Longhorn would come out in late 2004 or early 2005.

"The weight of the company is behind Longhorn," Poole said. "This is a huge bet for the company. It will really change the landscape of what people see."

With Longhorn, Microsoft hopes to improve the visual quality of the computing experience. Company representatives at a WinHEC demonstration of a pre-beta version of Longhorn said that the goal is to be able to run the OS on screens with a resolution of 120 dots per inch or higher.

That's far more refined than screens today. Current 17-inch SXGA displays have a resolution of about 95 dots per square inch, said Bob O'Donnell, an analyst at market research firm IDC.

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